Varsity athletes juggle finals, upcoming national competitions

Sylvie Luiten

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For some athletes, the end of  classes does not necessarily mean the end of their athletic season. This year, women’s varsity golf and both women’s and men’s varsity tennis teams will be competing at their respective NCAA Championship Tournaments during and after finals week at Whitman.

The women’s golf team will be making the trip to Angola, Ind. to compete in the NCAA Women’s Division III National Golf Championship from May 8 to 11; the women are still deciding who will be making the trip.

The competing women will need to prepare for the conditions they will face specific to Indiana.

“One of the things about this course is that we’ll have water hazards on every hole. It’s also a different climate, so the ball is probably not going to go as far as it usually does just because of the humidity, so we’re going to be working a lot on water hazards, short game and just regular practice,” said sophomore captain Elaine Whaley.

The women’s tennis team is waiting for national conference championships to wrap up so that they will know where they are headed.

“Nationals for us they decide depending on who was the top seed in the region. We’ll know for sure [its location] on the 7th and then [Nationals is] from the 11th to the 13th, so right during finals week,” said senior Emily Rolston.

For the NCAA tennis tournaments, teams first compete regionally before moving on to national finals.

“You have to win three rounds at regionals to go the final, which would be after graduation. A couple of our girls get to go to that [North Carolina]-Courtney [Lawless] and Alyssa [Roberg]-because they qualified individually for the national tournament,” said Rolston.

The other women will need to qualify individually at the regional tournament to move on to North Carolina.

Men’s tennis will also compete during finals and are waiting to find out where they will play.

“We’re hoping to go to Minnesota and be a one seed which I think would be the first time ever we’ve been a one seed, so that would be really exciting. And then if we can get past regionals we would go to the Elite Eight which is in North Carolina, and that would be over commencement weekend,” said senior Conor Holton-Burke.

With the end of the academic year nearing, all of the nationals-bound teams have a significant amount of work on and off the court.

“A big problem in the past has been players being exhausted because regionals is over finals week and also players carrying this big burden of academic stuff on them with them on the court,” said Holton-Burke.

Men’s varsity tennis coach Jeff Northam has made efforts to accommodate this end-of-the-year push.

“Coach has been good enough to get out and work with people individually as opposed to the whole team getting out and everyone working for two hours. The big thing is just trying to schedule everything and doing essays ahead of time,” said Holton-Burke.

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